The intrepid duo continue their globe trotting…..Clarence and Clemmie the CACHE mascots, visit Bangor in the UK:
“How do you follow a trip to Antarctica? You might think after time in the frozen wastes that we would reward ourselves with a nice warm beach holiday, the Maldives perhaps? But no! We are dedicated to our science and relished the chance to accompany Dr Mel and her PhD student Leyre on a trip to Bangor. We actually went to the School of Ocean Sciences on the island of Anglesey, which as you can see does not have a bad view. This is the view from the lab across the Menai Straits. In the distance you can see the famous Menai Suspension Bridge, which was built in 1826 by the engineer Thomas Telford and was the first bridge to connect the Island of Anglesey with the Welsh mainland.
So why are we here? Well Leyre seems to have quite a collection of PhD supervisors: Dr Mel, Professor Lloyd and last, but not least, Dr Andy Davies at Bangor University, which is where Leyre is registered for her PhD. Bangor is also the site of some of Leyre’s experiments. She is looking at small creatures that normally colonise rocks underwater. But these animals can also attach and grow on other types of hard surfaces such as the pillars that support piers and pontoons in marinas and also on the boat hulls themselves. These are called biofouling species and they are important as people who work on anything that has to spend time in the sea spend a lot of money scraping these creatures off the hulls of ships and solid structures and keeping them clean. So to make our studies easier, we put special panels into the water, which we can take out whenever we want and photograph what has grown.
By taking regular pictures we can work out which animals settle and grow on the panels, how fast they grow and also how they compete for space. Leyre has a special type of panel which she can heat up slightly (only by 1-2°C) to see how marine animals survive in warmer waters (which they may have to do soon due to global warming). Here you can see us in Dr Andy’s lab with one of these panels which has been taken out, so that it can be photographed.
We were in the lab for a few days, so we got to look around all the really interesting things in Dr Andy’s lab. He is very inventive and likes making things.
Here we are next to his home-made 3D printer! We were very impressed, especially when we saw that he had made a scallop shell. This is a close-up of Clemmie with the shell, which is very pretty and looks just like the real thing! We thought this particularly appropriate as scallops are one of the shellfish species that the CACHE students are working on.
Finally, we have to confess that we did not spend all our time working and we did take some time off during one of our lunch hours to go to the local chocolate shop. We felt guilty that we did not bring Nina a present from Antarctica, but we know she likes chocolate and managed to find this wonderful bar of chocolate that had a fish and a scallop on it. This is us on Nina’s desk with our present. We hope she likes it!”